Monday, August 30, 2010

Pineapple Limeade

I came up with this recipe to recreate a drink that my favorite Brazilian Restaurant serves

Pineapple Limeade

Recipe Created by: Ashley Willoughby


  • 1/2 pineapple, chopped (You can use canned, but for best results I use FRESH pineapple)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. lime juice
  • 1/4 c. frozen pineapple juice
  • 4 1/2 c. cold water

Puree pineapple in a blender or food processor & strain, removing small pieces of pineapple pulp (this is not a must, but I think it gives it better texture). Return juice to blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend until the sugar is dissolved. (I always taste mine to see if any extra sugar or water needs to be added). Serve over ice and ENJOY!!!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Patio Revamp: Stage 2 ~ Outdoor Curtains Tutorial

I'm sure many of you have this problem... We have this wonderful patio, but no tree in our backyard for shade. Anytime we went out on the patio in the late afternoon, about dinner time, we were blinded by the light. Not a good combo when you are having a BBQ! My first thought was... Lets put in a tree! But quickly changed my mind when I went to the nursery. Have you seen the price for large trees?!?!? WOW! Way out of our price range!

So, I came up with this great idea to solve our problems for under $60

I got this idea when I was looking through one of my Better Homes and Gardens magazines. There was this picture of an outdoor pavilion in the middle of a garden scape that had outdoor curtains on it! It was for a backdrop so it was being used for decorative purposes, but I thought, why not take something beautiful and make it functional too!

What you will need for this project:

  • Material -Curtain Liner (enough for 6 panels)
  • Heavy Duty Thread
  • Measuring Tape
  • X-Large Eyelets (You will want enough for 6 panels)- I purchased 1 Complete Eyelet Kit and 4 Additional Refill Packets- you will have a total of 50- I only used 42 in total)
  • Drill and Drill Bits
  • C Hooks (total of 39)
  • Ribbon

Curtain liner material- I chose white, because I wanted some of the light to still come through so it wasn't too dark, but I think that colors would be fun too! If you want a different color other than white, cream, brown, or black you will have to use a linen material (from my experience curtain liner doesn't come in other colors). These materials will be the most durable for outdoor use. (not only is the curtain liner more durable it is way less expensive than most other fabrics so you will find that you are going to spend about 2-3 times less on curtain liner than linen.)

How to determine the size you will need: Measure the height of the space you are wanting to cover (mine was 84"), then add for seam allowances (I did a 2" seam at the top and 1" seam at the bottom- so in total an additional 6" because you will be doing a double seam for extra durability-remember this is going to be outside!). My total length needed for each panel was 90". Now for width: The curtain liner I chose was 54" wide, but depending on what type of material you choose to use this might vary. Try to stay as wide as possible, this will make for a fuller look. The edges are already pre-finished so you won't have to do side seams. Yay! Which means less measuring and sewing, which means less thread and less material, which means more $ in your pocket!

GREAT TIP: I wanted to have 6 panels (two for each section that I wanted to cover. I wanted to have the choice of opening one or two, and the versatility of tying). Because of the large quantity of material that was purchased I had the fabric store pre-cut each one for me. This will make your job EXTREMELY EASIER, considering the length and the quantity of panels needed.

Next... Lay out each panel. Making sure that the length is equal on all panels.

At this point you will want to match up all corners so that they are square. Trim off any excess.

Next... you will want to mark your seams. For the top seam measure down 2 inches and mark, then measure down another 2 inches and mark. (You will be doing a double seam- for durability, so that is why you are marking twice)

For bottom seam you will do the same. This time you will measure only 1 inch down and mark then another inch down and mark.

Fold and press your seams down and pin along edge. Sew your seam closed for each panel.

Next... You will be putting in your Eyelets. I Purchased 1 Complete Eyelet Kit and 4 Additional Eyelet Refills- for a total of 50 eyelets (I only used 42 total- 7 on each panel). The following is a picture of an X-Large Eyelet Refill Pack. These are the ones I choose to use, only in silver.

This is what your Eyelet Kit will look like when you open it:

Now you will be measuring where your Eyelet placements will be. To do this measure where you would like your first Eyelet to be and using your Eyelet kit, follow the instructions included in the kit make your first eyelet punch. I wanted 7 eyelets on each panel so I measured every 8.5 inches. Using the first eyelet, I made marks of where each additional eyelet would be. This made it easier so I didn't have to measure down too.

Once all your eyelets are placed on each panel you are ready for your next step... Measuring for the C hooks. Using the distance between your area you are going to divide the space by 13. You will overlap your panels on the middle hook so you only need 13. Now, mark your spots and start drilling! If you are putting your panels onto a metal surface you will want to start with a small drill bit and work up to whatever size the screw of your C Hook is. Do nOT MaKE yOuR HoLE tOo LaRGEe!!!! So underestimate! If you are using Wood to put the C Hooks just make a small drill hole and then just put your C-Hooks right in.

Next... Screw in your C Hooks! You don't need a special tool, you can just do this by hand :) Then hang you curtains from the hooks.

Bunch fabric in the middle of each section and tie with Ribbon.

Now you have the option to leave them open...

Or close them if you need the shade... I think that they look absolutely GORGEOUS!

And we are Lovin' the shade!

Beyond The Picket Fence

Monday, August 23, 2010

Honey Pork Chops (freezer cooking instructions)

Honey Pork Chops (freezer cooking instructions)

6 boneless pork chops

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 clove garlic (minced)

2 TBSP soy sauce

dash of pepper

****If you are going to use my freezer cooking method take this recipe and multiply it depending on how much food you want. I usually multiply by 3 and it makes a ton (for a family of 3).*****


Place all ingredients except pork chops in a blender and mix thoroughly. Place pork chops and blended mixture in a freezer bag.


If you will be eating right away, marinate for 1 hour then grill (you can bake or pan sear if you want but I like 'em grilled). If frozen, just thaw for a few hours at room temperature then grill. They are so good if you brush the pork chops with the marinade a few times as they are cooking. If you bake them bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hour, turning pork chops occasionally while baking.

Brenna's room re-do part 2: Styrofoam decorative letters

I got these letters from this awesome Styrofoam cutting website. I have to put in a little plug for this company. You know those cute wood letters you can get at the craft store? Well you can get cute Styrofoam letters for half the price here. Second, you can pick the font and size you want for your letters. Third, they do custom work like my Styrofoam mantle shelf I made earlier this year.

I used the left over fabric from the pillows and quilt I also made for the room. I just used spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the letters. The butterflies were 50 cents each at Hobby Lobby and I attached them with hot glue. The picture frames are from the dollar store and painted with cheap craft paint and hung with ribbon.

Baked Ziti (freezer cooking instructions)

Baked Ziti

Original recipe:

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 box ziti macaroni (16 oz)

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 container cottage cheese (15 oz)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg slightly beaten

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Shredded mozzarella (8 oz)

****If you are going to use my freezer cooking method take this recipe and multiply it depending on how much food you want. I usually multiply by 4 and it makes a ton (for a family of 3).*****


Cook ziti pasta and set aside.

Brown ground beef.

In large bowl, combine everything except the spaghetti sauce, ziti and half of the mozzarella cheese.

Stir in 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce.

Add the ziti and toss gently to coat.

Spoon mixture into pan.

Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over top of mixture.

Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.


If you will be eating right away bake for 20 min. at 350 degrees.


I like to freeze this meal in a foil container and cook it without thawing first at 325 degrees for about and hour and a half. (Cook longer for larger quantities) . I have also used freezer bags to freeze, thawed for a few hours at room temperature and then baked at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Note: if you use freezer bags for this recipe you will have to mix all of the spaghetti sauce and cheese in as you wont be able to make it stay on top in a bag. :)

See my freezer cooking page for more tips on how to save time, money and energy while still eating home cooked meals!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brenna's room re-do part 1: Pillows

Pillow #1-Gathered panel pillow with tattered rosettes

I followed the tutorial found here for this pillow and here for the rosettes. The tutorial is for muslin fabric but I used cotton and it turned out great!

Pillow #2-Yo Yo pillow
For this one I followed the simple tutorial found here. This one is great because the Yo Yo's can be done without a machine if you want.

Pillow #3: Pleated pillow
This one was the most difficult but fun to make. I followed the tutorial found here.

Pillow #4-Gathered pillow
I followed the tutorial found here for this pillow. The tutorial suggests using a silky type fabric but I used cotton and it worked just great. I don't however think it would work very with a stiff upholstery type fabric.

Pillow #5-Pin Tuck Pillow
I got the idea for this pillow here but it did not come with a tutorial so I just kind of figured out how to do it. First: I marked where I wanted all the pin tucks to be on the back of the front piece of my pillow cover with a pen. Second: I pinched each dot with my fingers and then tied a piece of string around the pinched fabric. Third: I used a hand stitch needle and thread to sew through just the tip of each section of pinched off fabric. Fourth: I removed the string that I used to pinch the fabric off in step 2. And that's it, piece of cake!

Pillow #6-Ruffle Front Pillow
I followed the tutorial found here for this pillow. In the tutorial she uses and old t-shirt (knit) fabric which does not fray. I used cotton which does fray so I cut my strips for the front twice as wide as instructed, folded them over and sewed the ends together (making a tube) before gathering each strip and sewing it onto the front.

Just think, these little beauties started out so ugly. Thrift store throw pillows-$1.25 each=$7.50. You would pay more than that for a SINGLE throw pillow at the store!.

This post has been syndicated on BlogHer here

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Patio Revamp: Stage 1 ~ Chairs

We just moved into our very first house and we have this wonderful covered patio. But we didn't have the money to spend on expensive patio furniture and decorations so I needed to think of a cheaper alternative so that we can still enjoy our patio without breakin' the bank.

Stage 1: The Chairs

What you'll need:
  • Old chairs
  • Sanding block
  • Spray paint made for Outdoor/Plastic use
  • Little bit of elbow greese :)
My parents gave me these old patio chairs that were a little sad looking...
FREE chairs awesome!!!

They were weather worn and and tired looking
all they needed was a little TLC and a punch of color.

I also did a few metal chairs that used to be my grandmothers.
(as you can see you don't need plastic chairs to do this, you can use any kind you want,
the possibilities only end with your creativity!)

So the transformation begins:

Prep work... Wash and spray off all chairs so that the paint has a clean surface. Then sand away all of the weather and sun damage. I used a sanding block, you can just get these at your hardware store in the sand paper deptartment. Use a fine grit so that you don't end up with really deep scratches in your finish.
All sanded up and ready to go! The chairs will have a white appearance on the areas that you sanded. Make sure that you wipe off the surface of your chairs so that you don't get particles mixed in your paint!

Next use a spray paint for outdoor or plastic. Be forwarned if you want to spray paint using a light color (white or yellow in my case) be prepared to use a few cans of spray paint. It is harder to cover up dark with light. If your chairs are already light then you won't have to use as much. Using the manufactures instructions, spray the chairs and let dry.

The finished product... they turned out awesome!

They really gave my patio the punch of color it needed!